The presidency said on Sunday the Nigerian military rescued the abducted students of Government Science School Kankara, Katsina State.
The students, who were abducted by armed bandits from the college on December 11, were rescued last Thursday.
The Defence Headquarters had said on Friday that troops of Operation Hadarin Daji successfully rescued the students from the armed bandits.
The DHQ’s position was contrary to the earlier claim by the Katsina State governor, Aminu Bello Masari, who said the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) played a major role in the release of the abducted students.
The military’s involvement in the students’ rescue was confirmed by the president in a statement titled: “Five takeaways from the safe return of 344 Kankara schoolboys,” and issued by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the president, Garba Shehu.
He said: “Our security forces often do not get the accolades they deserve. Once more, the Nigerian military has delivered on the big stage. They had a plan, kept to it, and got the job done without firing a single shot.
“This is important because one casualty, one dead schoolboy, could have traumatised President Buhari and the parents. One dead student would have tainted the rescue mission. The president wanted the boys back alive and delivered to their parents. As a compassionate father figure, he would have been pained if one life had been lost in the rescue process.
“Bravo to the Nigerian military and our security agencies for a well-coordinated and professionally executed mission to the president’s order reuniting the boys with their parents.
“There are not enough words to thank our gallant men and women in uniform, the military that continues to make sacrifices for many of us to enjoy and express our freedoms in its various forms and shapes. Millions of appreciative citizens applaud the success of the army in bringing back the Kankara Schoolboys. Well done, boys!”